Oh boy, this should be interesting. Valve has just announced today via press release that they plan to add Steam Family Sharing, a new service feature that allows close friends and family members to share their libraries of Steam games. The feature will become available next week, in limited beta on Steam.
“Our customers have expressed a desire to share their digital games among friends and family members, just as current retail games, books, DVDs, and other physical media can be shared,” explained Anna Sweet of Valve. “Family Sharing was created in direct response to these user requests.”
How does it work? Remarkably similar to the way Microsoft was marketing it's family sharing plan.
Once a device is authorized, the lender's library of Steam games becomes available for others on the machine to access, download, and play. Though simultaneous usage of an account’s library is not allowed, the lender may always access and play his games at any time. If he decides to start playing when a friend is borrowing one of his games, the friend will be given a few minutes to either purchase the game or quit playing.
We're going to guess that this is going to be very well received by the PC community. As to when we might actually see this return to the Xbox One remains to be seen.
For more information, head on over the the Steam Family Sharing page.